Why Avalanche


Who am I?

Web3 needs...

  • Decentralization: Network of millions of nodes
  • Scalability: Consensus of sub-second finality
  • Customization: Support app-specific chain


Yes! Avalanche solves "scalability", while "decentralized" with novel consensus algorithm and "customizable" with subnets.


  • What is Avalanche? (Overview)
  • Avalanche Consensus (Snowman)
  • Avalanche Subnet
  • Avalanche vs. Others
  • FAQs
  • Q&As

What is Avalanche?


What sets Avalanche apart?

"The fact that it works, it's fast, it scales, can grow and absorb any use case, can be used for compliant asset offerings. Bitcoin is single asset, single chain. Ethereum is multi-asset, single chain. Avalanche is multi-asset, multi-chain system. Most decentralized with fastest consensus finality."

All Access with Emin Gün Sirer - Ep. 51 (2023)

Avalanche ($AVAX)

  • Mainnet launched in Sep 2020
  • Supports Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)
  • Novel Consensus Algorithm: Snowman
  • Proof-of-Stake
  • Fast and Scalable L1 (>6K EVM TPS)
  • Reliable (no downtime, no reorg)
  • Platform for deploying "Subnets"

Avalanche Today

>3.6B requests (a day, July 2022) with ~80ms latency

Avalanche Today

Subnet effect -- scales without congestion

Avalanche Today

DFK subnet using more gas than Polygon and BNB

DFK subnet == Over 200-million requests per day

Avalanche Today

Subnet horizontally scales!

>800 TPS (possible >6,000 TPS)

Avalanche TPS

Customize subnet-evm for super-high TPS (>6K)

Different gas limit than primary network

Avalanche TPS

Build custom VM for high TPS workloads (>44K)

Possible with Avalanche Consensus + Subnets

  • Consensus with sub-second finality (Fast)
  • Decentralized with >1,200 validators (Secure)
  • Subnets for application specific chains (Isolation)

Avalanche Consensus ☃️

Snowman Protocol


"Assume a collection of processes that can propose values. A consensus algorithm ensures that a single one among the proposed values is chosen." Leslie Lamport, Paxos Made Simple (2001)

Should this transaction be placed in a block or not?

PoW or PoS is NOT a consensus mechanism!

Consensus Until Now

Classical (Lamport 1998, Paxos/Raft/etcd)

  • Quick finality but does not scale
  • Quadratic message complexity
  • Permissioned, requires precise membership

Consensus Until Now

Nakamoto (Bitcoin 2008)

  • Robust, no need for precise membership
  • High latency, low throughput
  • Wastes energy, not green, not sustainable

Consensus Until Now

PBFT (1999)

  • Powers many PoS networks (Tendermint, Casper)
  • Committee/leader-based
    • Can't scale easily ("leader/coordinator" dilemma)
    • Quorum-based: must know all participants
    • Fast when membership is small
  • Deterministic safety (100% safe)
    • Hard limit on the Byzantine adversaries
  • Many are very complicated

Avalanche Consensus Family

  • Published in 2020
  • Instant finality, low latency (~1 sec)
  • High throughput (>6,000 TPS)
  • Scales >10-million nodes
  • Robust, no need for precise membership
  • Leaderless
  • Quiescent, green, sustainable
  • Inspired by epidemic protocols and gossip networks
  • New idea: deliberately metastable

Avalanche Sustainability

Binary Consensus

  • Pick one red/blue -- no correct answer
  • Adopt the majority color by repeated sub-sampling
  • Consensus results in the entire network agreeing on either red or blue
  • Even with 50/50 split, random perturbation in the sampling results in a single value being selected

At the beginning, pick any color (no correct answer)

Radomly sub-sample the network

"Red" is the majority from the sample

Adopt the majority color, "red"

Repeat this random sampling in parallel, in all nodes

Repeated random sampling perturbs conflicting state

Sequence of metastable process of random sampling

All converge to the same value (agreement)

"The protocol is designed to tip" (YouTube)

See also All Access with Emin Gün Sirer - Ep. 51 (2023)

Fast Finality

Avalanche == no block re-org, no longest chain rule

  • Re-org in game? May lose item after tx revert
  • Re-org in bridge? Must wait longer for source chain
  • Re-org in payment? May lose money for goods

Avalanche Subnet 🔺

What is Subnet?

Primary Network == Special Subnet

  • X-chain for fast asset exchange
  • P-chain coordinates validators and subnets
  • C-chain executes EVM contracts with ETH RPCs

Subnet validator must validate primary network!

Subnet == Sub-network

Subnets == Functional sharding

Subnet is a functional sharding!

Subnets == Failure isolation

Failure in one subnet does not impact the other!

Thus better fault tolerance and better reliability!

Subnets == Gas isolation

Gas-heavy app/game can launch in subnet!

Subnet has its own gas token!

Isolated gas consumption, thus no gas fee spikes

Isolated loads, thus better performance

Subnet (sub-network)

Custom networks running on Avalanche

  • Security: Choose who and how many can participate
  • Compliance: Comply with specific industry, jurisdiction, regulatory environment (KYC)
  • Custom Execution: Common VM (subnet-evm with custom gas token), custom VM optimized for own use case (key-value store, gaming, Rust 🦀)
  • Privacy: Controls data visibility (encryption)

Avalanche vs. Others

Avalanche validator set scales

No upper cap on consensus membership!

Possible thanks to novel consensus algorithm

Avalanche Cosmos Polygon Klaytn Hedera
>1,200[1] ~200 ~100[2] ~30 26

[1] Theoretically, Avalanche can scale beyond millions.

[2] Sidechain on Ethereum.

Sidechain security

Avalanche Polygon
L1 with own validator set (>1,200) Sidechain (~100)

Polygon does not settle transactions on Ethereum, simply committing its state root on Ethereum. A sidechain does not leverage the security or decentralization of the base chain layer, since without a permissionless fraud challenger, the sidechain can checkpoint the arbitrary state root on Ethereum.

Avalanche == no re-org

Sub-second finality + No block re-org (합의 취소)

Avalanche Cosmos Polygon Klaytn
Finality < 1-sec[1] 1-sec 2-sec 1-sec
Re-org No No Yes No[2]

[1] Customized subnet has faster finality (<400 ms).

[2] The chain halts when re-orgs.

Avalanche == no re-org

Circle doesn't support native USDC when block re-orgs

Avalanche Cosmos Polygon Klaytn
USDC Yes, native No No native No

Subnets vs. L2: Security

🔥 Shared security is not a desired property 🔥

Subnet provides elastic/on-demand security

(more subnet validators, more security)

Layer-2 shares security with base chain

but still relies on centralized sequencer???

Wha if the single sequencer is down???

Wha if the single sequencer is censoring???

Centralization risks of L2

Subnets vs. L2: Finality

🔥 Layer-2 finality is unknown 🔥

Subnet provides sub-second finality

Optimistic rollup is finalized (irreversible) in ~7-day

but permissioned L2 is not comparable to L1 (discussion)

ZK rollup also relies on base chain for finality (discussion)


Gas fee in subnet?

Subnet can run EVM or any custom VM!

EVM in Subnet has its own gas token

Subnet operator can customize gas fee and limits

Or gasless subnet with gas relayer or custom VM

Why validate subnet?

Subnet has its own token and rewards

Transfer asset between subnets?

Avalanche Warp Messaging (AWM)

High TPS custom VM?

Hyper SDK for 10,000 ~ 100,000+ TPS

Rust 🦀 virtual machine?

Rust SDK

Gasless transactions?

Yes, only possible in Avalanche + subnet!

(valuess native token for regulatory compliance)

(currently private/internal, built on top of EIP-2771)

Getting started?


  • Explained why Avalanche blockchain is scalable
    • Reliability with the fastest tx finality
    • Flexibility to run custom VMs with custom tokens